I have an audition Sunday for orchestra. The Board of Directors, along with the Music Director, decided in the spring that all players must audition, I think as more of a placement and coaching thing than as a "you have to pass or you're out" kind of thing.
But you see, I don't know for certain, and as the least accomplished member of the orchestra (and I can say this with no pride and no exaggeration), if it so happens that it's a pass/fail, situation, I will almost certainly fail.
So I had to decide over the summer how I would handle it if that was the case. I'm a charter player in the orchestra. I haven't played every year, and I miss too many practices, but I'm one of the reasons the orchestra actually exists at all--it was founded by a friend of mine so that people like me would have a place to play. But I have to admit that the orchestra has improved (a lot!), and I haven't. Because I haven't been practicing, just playing.
And I decided that if I didn't "pass," instead of complaining, I'd ask to just play at practices, and not concerts, and re-audition after the first concert. In the meantime, I plan to practice my fingers off.
Which is where the fish come in.
My daughter is in the midst of training as a Suzuki teacher. One thing that HER first teacher did was have "fish" charts, where the fish had a hundred scales that could be coloured in, one for each scale or practice passage played. Ally made up a blank scale chart with 103 scales, and I photocopied it a bunch of times, and now I'm doing scales and practicing one particular passage in a Seitz concerto 103 times. I've been able to play that concerto movement all the way through for years, but never well. So my goal it to master that to performance level, so I've broken it down into passages to practice.
As well, I am (of course) practicing the passages of Beethoven's 7th that have been designated for the audition.
And an amazing thing has happened--after only an hour or two of concentrated work, I'm already sounding better.
20 scales down, 83 to go...